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biz ladies: How to Use Twitter to Make Your Business Grow


Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Erin Giles, a creative business coach and artist. Erin is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs shine online. She is currently working on a free e-book that will be available October 10th on her site, and today she offers her knowledge on how to leverage Twitter as a powerful business tool. From socializing with other businesses to promoting your goods and website, Erin explains how to use Twitter to its full potential. Thanks, Erin, for this useful post! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

I was the girl who didn’t want to join Twitter. But once I finally caved, it was the best decision I made for my business. If you have yet to take the leap and commit to using Twitter daily to leverage your business, now is the time. I am going to share six key ways you can use Twitter to make your business shine brighter than ever before.

1. Making Connections That Stick: When you first join Twitter, the big “zero followers” will seem unnerving every time you login. How do you even begin to make connections? You must first find people in your niche to follow and scroll through the people they follow. I would not suggest going “following crazy,” but do read through bios, and you will find descriptions of their careers, businesses and passions. By tweeting others and creating conversation, you will soon form connections and friendships that may open up doors of opportunity for your business.

There are a few important do’s and don’ts of communicating on Twitter that you would rather not learn the hard way. 
DO: Retweet great tweets; thank others when they retweet your tweets; participate in Follow Friday; always direct message private messages rather than tweeting them for the whole world to see; and congratulate others on their big successes. 
DON’T: Ask people to follow you; gossip about others on Twitter; tweet about going to the bathroom or other personal foolishness; and don’t incessantly tweet only about your new products or offerings.

2. Being Authentic: As entrepreneurs, our business tends to be our lives. It is vitally important for our business and branding to be authentic to our beliefs. Shouldn’t our use of social media be the same? All you have to do on Twitter is be yourself; no sleazy saleswoman impersonation or super seriousness required. Talk about what fires you up or what you are thankful for, and your true followers will rally around you and your vision, creating the tribe of cheerleaders you have always wanted.

3. Creating Hype about What Your Business Has to Offer: Certainly the most enjoyable and rewarding part of Twitter is involving your followers with your business happenings. So how do you create hype? By tweeting photos of your most recent projects and products, asking for your followers’ opinions or taking a poll when you need an outsider’s perspective. You can even do something as exciting as a book launch count down and have an online party once it has kicked off.

Anything you can do to involve your followers in the current undertakings of your business, the better. When you turn to them for their opinions and involve them in the creating process, a community will start to form, and they will be thankful to be part of it.

4. Promoting Your Website: Sometimes promotion has a nasty reputation. So think of promoting on Twitter as sharing. You will be sharing your business’s website in all its glory to your followers and friends on Twitter.

If you are promoting a blog post or a video post, a good rule is to share it three times a day and to share it in three different ways each time. Get in the mind of your potential consumer. In 140 characters or less, capture their attention with either a question that will be answered in your post, an eye-catching statement that you take out of your post or simply the title.

5. Creating Community by Throwing a Twitter Party: Throwing a Twitter party or a tweet chat is a fabulous way to gather a group of people around an idea or topic. No matter what type of business you own, there are people on Twitter who are passionate about your business’s purpose as well.

By throwing a weekly or monthly tweet chat, you can address individual topics in each chat that may be of concern to other business owners in your niche or even your potential customers. By allowing plenty of time to create awareness of the tweet chat, posting images that invite your followers on your website and Twitter and reminding them several times of the chat, your tweet chat will grow more and more each time you meet.

6. Managing Your Time: Once all of the above is in place, Twitter can get a wee bit addictive. You feel like you’re going to miss something, so you soon find yourself checking in any chance you get. You still need to live a productive life outside of Twitter, so you must manage your Twitter time wisely:

Create lists. Lists allow you to organize whom you are following into groups. This lets you to login and only check your lists for important tweets if you don’t have ample time to read through your entire feed.

Set a timer. By setting a timer, you give yourself so much time to be on Twitter and once it goes off, you log off.

Turn off notifications. If you find yourself getting dozens of alerts and emails throughout the day that distract you from doing your work, it’s best to go into your account settings and turn them off.

Many business owners feel that Twitter is only for the younger generation and that it won’t make a difference in their business. But I’ve found that when you embrace Twitter for all it has to offer your business, it is not only worth the time but also worth breaking away from Facebook, where everybody knows your name.

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37 Comments

Nia Sayers

Thank you for posting on this topic. I’m a twitter foot dragger. Maybe I’ll give it another shot now that some of my questions have been answered! I can so easily get sucked into these things so I’ll definitely have to try to set a time limit!

la domestique

What a great topic for the biz ladies! Twitter has led me to some meaningful friendships as well as opportunities for growth like free online classes and learning of local events I didn’t even know of. As with anything, you only get what you give. It’s so important to treat people exactly how you would in the real world. Thanks for the tips!

sue@solsticehome

Great article, Twitter has helped me make friends, sell my vintage goods, and stay in touch with my buyers, and I’m an older generation :)
One thing to add :: I also sell on @Sellsimply, where my tweets can become sales and not just marketing. So simple :: I Love It!

Erin Giles

Your welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Your so right, Twitter gives us the ability to truly learn and grow as an individual & a biz!

Lana Manis

Thank you for all the tips. I have a twitter account and have a few hundred followers but feel as if I just don’t reach potential customers. I’ll try again. :)

Melissa@Julia's Bookbag

Ah Twitter. I too have been wondering if I should embrace Twitter, and have been told by friends that it’s a great social networking tool — second time in 2 weeks that I’ve heard It’s a Good Thing, so I’m thinking I should join up!

Melissa

Thanks for the tips–I’m trying to navigate my way around Twitter and this is incredibly helpful! I’ll be checking out your tweets, ladies–I’m @woolandhoney….come say hi!

Sari

Great to know that it isn’t over the top to promote my business. Don’t want to be too presumptuous!

Erin Giles

@Lana- It sometimes takes awhile, but stick with it, its worth it!

@Melissa- Go for it! And when you do find me on Twitter:)! I would be honored to be your first follower–@erinmgiles.

@Melissa- Yay! It’s serving its purpose then, because it can be confusing!

@Sari- Not at all! And better yet put the twitter handle in your personal name with your biz website in the profile. People will better connect with your name!

@Mercy- Use a timer, its a must!

Sarah

This is such a good topic, and one I need to learn a little more about, unless having 37 followers is the goal. ;)

Allison

I’m the girl who doesn’t want to join twitter, but i think you just convinced me! Thanks for another great post!

lyndsey @ the stationery place

i love the biz ladies series too!! i totally look forward to it each week. i love today’s tips for limiting time on twitter…it’s amazing how much time gets sucked away by that thing!!

Kirra

This is my first visit to biz ladies. I opened a twitter account some time ago but only recently decided to take the leap and be more committed to doing it regularly and to adding a feed to my website. Appreciate these six suggestions. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to tweet about or how to do it in a way that others will find interesting and engaging.

Tania

I opened up my twitter account months ago but only started tweeting about a month ago. At first, I really didn’t know what to do with it and now I love it. I’ve drawn new readers to my blog and have made many new likeminded contacts and friends (locally and cyber). Also has helped me become more tuned in to my community as I’m following many local businesses and groups. As an avid reader, it is now an everyday source for me for interesting articles and to keep informed of local events I can tie in to. I find the correct use of hash tags has helped gain new followers and increase my interaction. The Iphone instagram app also lets me include great retweet worthy outdoors shots of Maui or events around town.

The thing though about marketing on social media I think everyone needs to keep in mind is it’s a pull, not a push platform. You pull your customers or readers in by engaging with them. They will be more receptive if they see you as knowledgeable in your area of interest or if they find you relatable. The traditional media marketing is more about the push, “this is what you should buy”.

I will not follow anyone who merely tweets their product or blogpost links 100% of time. I follow those who share their life a little, genuinely promote businesses/writers/artists they love and link to articles I’d be interested in. I love to see your self promotion too but it means more as part of a whole package.

Erin Giles

@Sarah, your right…37 followers is not the goal, but a good starting point. Remember everyone starts with zero followers:)

@Allison- I was too, girl! I talked junk about it for years, but now I’m sold out!

@Natasha- don’t be scared, I promise it’s fun!

@Lyndsey- So easy to be on it every day!

@Kirra- It is quite hard at first…here are some great women to follow that are great examples, and they are the 5 women that contributed to the e-book that will be launched next week! @ohmyhandmade, @aisletoaloha, @mayicarles, @merriweatherc, and @saltcityspice! They are awesome ladies!

@Tania- you’ve got it girl! Its about friends and sharing rather than fans and selling!

Allyson

I’ve been on twitter for a while, but I just have trouble knowing what to tweet. My life is fairly boring, and I feel that if I tweet about an article or another post, then I’m just saying the same thing as everyone else. Basically, I know that Twitter is a good tool; I just don’t really know how to use it.

Leslie

I’m still totally intimidated by twitter, even though I’m perfectly comfortable with other social media platforms. Thanks to your little “pep-talk,” I even tweeted my first non-blog-related item in months this morning.

Fx Fairy

If you already have etsy for your products how will using twitter help sales? It seem like it could become rather time consuming to do both…

Cindy

Thank you! Thank you! Perfect article for perfect timing! I recently joined twitter to help share all of the exciting things happening in my business…it has definetly been a slow push. It is hard to run a business and have time to stop, think and tweet, but seeing first hand with several of my business gal friends, their business have soared!:) We live in a tech age and the businesses that have “more followers” ie: wide social media coverage the better. It’s like free marketing and sharing your inspirations/ ideas with the world! Thanks again for sharing all of your insightful and motivating tips….I’m off to tweet!!!

Erin Giles

@ Anastasia- Glad you found it helpful!

@ Allyson- Hopefully the free e-book will help you!

@Leslie- Yay, that’s a great start!

@FX Fairy- The e-book will be perfect for you! 5/6 women who wrote it sell on Etsy!

@Cindy- You are so right, it takes awhile, but free marketing is worth it!

Melissa M.

Great advice! I’ve been using twitter and have communicated back and forth with others, but your ideas are a much better idea on how to manage my lists and using it to promote my website and blog. I love your blog it has lots of great information. I’m still working on my blog and website, each day I have a new idea but I don’t want to clutter it up too much. Thanks again for you info, have a great day!

Erin Giles

@Melissa- Thanks! So glad it was helpful, you will love the e-book, its got even more great info from myself and 5 awesome biz ladies! Keep up the great work, and stay in touch!

Linda Rodney

You are an inspiration and I will give it a try for my original fine art photography. I work with my son and we’re been doing fine art juried art shows. We want to grow and I’m sure tweeter will assist. Off not to start my account and start following.

Claire

Great article. I have just started a blog, will set up Etsy shop and now am trying to Tweet away! It sure keeps me busy, and I sometimes wonder when I’ll find the time to finish my recycle design projects! :-D

Erin Giles

@Linda- It will help so much, especially if you tweet you working and take follower polls!

@Irma- Yay!

@Claire- It is very time consuming, just be sure to set limits for yourself, its easy to overdo it when its something you love, I’m speaking from experience:)

Liz

Do you recommend a particular twitter primer? It’s a whole new language.
Eager to learn! Thanks for your post.

Katie

I have to admit, I joined Twitter in 2009, tweeted no more than 7 times, then left it for two years.

Now, I’m tweeting a couple times a day, I (only) have 17 followers, and I’m making connections in ways I didn’t imagine. Hits to my website have gone up, and my dad and sister retweet some of my blog promos – so they get to even more people.

The only thing that gets annoying is long-winded conversations between two people. Especially when they can just as easily text each other.

Tania

Allyson, you bring to mind something a local social media consultant once told me, “you may not be the most interesting person, but everyone is interesting to someone”. I find on all my social media interaction, the posts, tweets and status updates that receive the most interaction are those people can relate to. Pics of yummy food, beach shots, sunsets, beautiful architecture, local events around town (can be very simple everyday like street markets). Links to articles which are motivating, inspiring or show vulnerability. Or articles which provide helpful info in topics like social media, diy, cooking (whatever your areas of interest may be). You know more than you think you do, we all have our areas of “expertise” and most people don’t relate to the lives of the glamorous, it’s the beauty and inspiration of the every day.

Karin

Thanks for the article. My best friend started her own business and I have been trying to help her with her social marketing. This will certainly help us both!

Ludmilla

Wonderful article. My problem with twitter is that I just waste so much time on it. I need exercise my discipline and quit when I promise myself I will quit. It sure is addictive, more then facebook:)

I follow several hashtags, just too much fun. But I also manage to sell my note cards and my Socks video, so I do not feel tooo bad when I blow a morning twitter.

Ludmilla
@bgdesign

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